|Recipe for Christmas|
Ideas for finding original Christmas presents in Ealing
It's that time of year again; time to stir up a fine Christmas pudding and start thinking about some unusual Christmas presents for our friends or family. Here are some ideas that might be a little bit different from that old pair of socks.
First, get a large bowl.
For Art's Sake near O'Neills in Ealing Green has some interesting but simple modern handmade pottery for the more stylish of your friends. Last year my sister-in-law asked for a blue cup and saucer; something unusual, she said, to add to her collection. Festival on South Ealing Road was a good source, with its original '50s collections of china. If it's an older person you are buying for, a few shops down is Harold's Place with its traditional classic flowery china and sometimes the Polish charity shop nearby has elegant coffee sets. Joie de Vivre on St Mary's Road also sells very fine (new) tea pots and matching cups. On a more practical note, Kitchen Ideas near the UCG cinema stocks a huge range of practical kitchen items crammed into the smallest possible space; it may look a bit like a pound shop, but don't be deceived, they have some good quality makes.
Now put on some Christmassy music
For CDs, there's HMV and the CD Warehouse in Ealing Broadway - that and WH Smiths are the most likely place to get your Kings College Choir, most suitable for pudding-making. Not sure you'd get much in the way of traditional Christmas carols from our old friends at Vinylmania in Northfields, but you would be sure to pick up prospective club hits for anyone interested in DJ'ing. They may look scary, but are very helpful if you ask for advice. Sounds Original on South Ealing Road deals in old-time LPs, specialising in the 50s and 60s both pop and jazz - good for collectors. The Oxfam music shop in Ealing Green has a wider range of hard-to-find vinyl, including classical. If you're feeling rich, decide it's time you put a new sound system from the newly-opened Sevenoaks Hi-Fi (Ealing Green) on your Christmas list.
Next, distract any three year olds running around your feet with some toys.
Daniel's is a good one-stop shop for presents, as it has a wide variety of good quality items and the parking's free as long as you buy something. If you're going up-market, there are lovely wooden toys in Monster Monster, opposite Club Boulevard. For older children, And So It Begins on St Mary's Road has a surprising choice of classic and unusual board and fantasy games, as well as a bunch of people playing them - be warned, they're open in the afternoons and evenings only. For real enthusiasts, Braley Hobby Supplies on Little Ealing Lane, local home of the true Airfix kit, could be the answer to your prayers.
Add your ingredients
Just breathe in that glorious aroma of nutmeg, oranges and Stout!
Delis are a good source of presents, including Carluccio's for any friends who appreciate high quality products and will know how much you've spent on that tiny jar of Wild Fennel sauce and neighbouring Farm W5, for interesting and tasty organic produce. Pitshanger has a great Italian-style deli, and there are several which cater for the Polish market (on the Avenue and in Northfields Avenue). I've waxed lyrical before about the Iranian shops in West Ealing for luscious dates and fantastic selections of dried fruits and nuts at good value prices. Beautiful chocolates are also available from continental-style Leonidas in Oak Road in Ealing Broadway, Chantal's cafe and the appealing Claudette's opposite TKMaxx (for anyone who's seen or read "Chocolat", could we be in for a real-life transformation of the Broadway? Wouldn't that be wonderful?)
Vouchers for beauty salon treatments are an indulgent treat - there are far too many to list them all, though from personal experience I can recommend the Saturday Indian head massage at Orange Chat in Northfields. For a steamy kitchen, a cookery class at the Thai Cookery school has been recommended enthusiastically by several people and vouchers for an hour's lesson are only £15. Finally, a stressed-out artistic friend found a voucher for painting her own design on pottery at Art4Fun in West Ealing provided her with a very relaxing time.
Wrap, decorate, and have a happy Christmas!
These are just a few and very personal ideas out of a whole host of possibilties. Share your own favourites on the Forum and make someone else's day.
November 16, 2004